TIGERVILLE, S.C. (courtesy ngu.edu) — Having relevant work experience is valuable in virtually every industry, but gaining experience before graduation is mandatory for specific careers. At North Greenville University (NGU), Cybersecurity majors have several ways to meet experience requirements.
In July NGU Cybersecurity student Audrey Garcia from Pickens, along with NGU Cybersecurity faculty professor Dan Wooster and Program Director Dr. Nigel Basta, made a presentation at the Upstate Technology Conference at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville.
“We presented two seminars on the history of ransomware attacks, protections against ransomware attacks, and risk mitigation in case of being a victim of ransomware attacks,” said Basta, who is director of NGU’s Center for Cybersecurity.
Ransomware is malware designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer. By encrypting these files and demanding a ransom payment for the decryption key, cyberattackers place organizations in a position where paying the ransom is the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to their files.
“I help the students research the information, so they were familiar enough to teach it,” said Basta. “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.”
Dr. Paul Thompson, dean of NGU’s College of Humanities and Sciences, said this presentation is just one of the many ways Basta is working to ensure that NGU Cybersecurity students are prepared to be leaders in the workplace.
“It’s an example of how he constantly seeks to expose the South Carolina technology community to our students and our program, and I am very grateful for that,” said Thompson.
Another way the program exposes students to the technology community is through internships.
Internships allow current college students to participate in a field of their choice to receive hands-on learning about a particular future career, preparing them for full-time work following graduation. In addition, an internship can be used to build a professional network that can assist with letters of recommendation or lead to future employment opportunities. The benefit for employers to bringing an intern into full-time employment is that they are already familiar with the company, therefore needing little to no training.
Also, one of the industry’s most experienced experts mentors NGU’s Cybersecurity students.
Basta recently earned Certified Penetration Testing Professional (CPENT) certification and the Licensed Penetration Testing Master Certification from EC-Council, a leading Cyber security certification organizations. Globally recognized for its cutting-edge cybersecurity certifications, EC-Council is well known for the Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH) certification. He is among the 38 individuals worldwide to score over 90% in the 24-hour CPENT exam. EC-Council recently interviewed Basta, with video of the interview available on EC-Council’s website in September.
CPENT is a fully online, remotely proctored practical exam that challenges candidates through a grueling 24-hour performance-based, hands-on exam. The exam is broken into two practical exams of 12 hours each that will test perseverance and focus by forcing individuals to outdo themselves with each new challenge. Candidates can choose either two 12-hour exams or one 24-hour exam.
Candidates who score more than 70% will earn the CPENT certification. Candidates who score more than 90% attain the prestigious LPT Master credential.
In a blog written for EC-Council, Basta said he took the exam in two 12-hour segments. He said it is a very tough exam, including a real-world penetration testing environment and scenarios. After taking it, he believes that attempting it in one 24-hour setting is better because, depending on experience, a person can finish it in less than nine hours.
“While the exam was tough, it was very entertaining and interesting as it closely mimics a penetration testing contract that you would experience in real-life,” Basta said.
Thompson said that in Basta, North Greenville’s cybersecurity program employs “arguably the most certified and best-qualified professor you can find at any university.”
“His love of God and his students oozes from his pores, and he is one of the best at integrating biblical Christian principles into his discipline,” Thompson said.
The National Security Agency (NSA) Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense publishes the national gold standard for cybersecurity education. NGU’s cybersecurity program aligns with these standards to prepare its students for the field.
NGU is an official academic partner of the EC-Council and CompTIA, providing access to move than over 36 certification exams, from Ethical Hacker, Network Defender, and Encryption Specialist to CompTIA Fundamentals, Cloud Essentials, and more.
For information about NGU’s Cybersecurity degree program, visit ngu.edu/programs/cybersecurity/.